May 26, 2020

Protesters hung Gov. Andy Beshear (D) in effigy at the state capitol on Sunday, an act that one lawmaker called "sickening."

Local media reports that about 100 people attended a gun rights rally at the capitol that also turned into a protest against coronavirus restrictions enacted by Beshear. Video posted online shows a man stringing up a doll with a picture of Beshear's face on it and a noose around the neck, with others then posing for photos in front of the effigy as "God Bless the U.S.A." plays in the background.

This was "sickening," Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) said. "We have to learn to disagree without threats of violence." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he is a "strong defender of the First Amendment," and believes Americans have "the right to peacefully protest," but the "action toward Gov. Beshear is unacceptable. There is no place for hate in Kentucky."

In a statement, the Kentucky House Democratic leadership said the act "reeks of hate and intimidation" and is "beyond reprehensible." Beshear has not made any public comments on the incident. Catherine Garcia

December 20, 2019

Kentucky's former Gov. Matt Bevin is presenting a good case for why he was voted out of office.

Before the Republican was replaced by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear last week, he went on a pardoning spree that included commuting the sentences of people convicted of homicide and the rape of a child. Bevin was asked Thursday to defend those controversial pardons in an interview with a local radio station — and couldn't remember exactly which child rapist they were talking about.

In the case in question, 41-year-old Micah Schoettle was convicted of rape, sodomy, and other sexual crimes involving young children and received 23 years in prison. But when asked how he, as a father of nine, could defend someone who'd rape a child, Bevin asked "which one? Because there were a couple of people that were accused of that whose sentences I commuted."

Bevin then argued that "there was zero evidence" to prove Schoettle's guilt because, as he disturbingly said, "both their hymens were intact." That's a medically insufficient explanation, argued former Kentucky medical examiner Dr. George Nichols when speaking with the Louisville Courier-Journal. He gave a more medically explicit case for how rape is proved, and then said of Bevin that "he not only doesn't know the law, in my humble opinion, he clearly doesn't know medicine and anatomy."

Radley Balko, an opinion writer for The Washington Post, later acknowledged that Bevin's pardons of convicted murderers "looks shady." But he noted that many of the other pardons involved "shoddy prosecutions," and said these and other "acts of mercy" don't deserved to be lumped in with the more outrageous crimes. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 17, 2019

Alt-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones sent child porn to Sandy Hook families, their lawyers alleged Monday.

The Infowars host has been locked in a legal battle with the families after he alleged the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut shooting was a hoax. He was recently ordered to hand over files as a part of that lawsuit, but when he did, they were allegedly embedded with child pornography, the CT Post reports.

Families of those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting say after Jones alleged they were "crisis actors" perpetuating a fake shooting, his followers began sending them death threats and even published their addresses as they moved to avoid the threats. The families have since sued Jones for defamation, and won a victory in that challenge earlier this year when a judge ordered Jones to hand over business data to the families' lawyers. Now, those lawyers say when Jones complied with the court request, he also sent over electronic files containing child porn, per CT Post.

Jones has since claimed that the child porn was placed on his servers in a malware attack, and offered $1 million to whoever found who did it, per The Daily Beast. On his Friday Infowars show, he implied that Christopher Mattei, the attorney representing the Sandy Hook families, planted the material. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 23, 2018

An Idaho-based white supremacist group is behind a racist robocall targeting Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee and Florida's Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Gillum is black, and the same white supremacist group, which operates the website The Road to Power, sent out a racist robocall against Gillum during the primary in August. In the new shockingly racist robocall, a person using a minstrel dialect says he is Gillum, and refers to himself as a "Negro." In the background, minstrel music plays, and a monkey is occasionally heard screeching. The ad also insults Jews, saying they are "the ones that been putting Negroes in charge over the white folk, just like they done after the Civil War."

Gillum's spokesman, Geoff Burgan, called the robocalls "disgusting" and "abhorrent," and said the campaign hopes "that these calls, and the dangerous people who are behind them, are not given any more attention than they already have been." Stephen Lawson, spokesman for Gillum's Republican opponent Ron DeSantis, said their campaign had "absolutely nothing to do" with the robocalls and "joins those in condemning it." In August, DeSantis used the term "monkey it up" in reference to Gillum, but later claimed this had nothing to do with race. His comment was referred to in the robocall. Catherine Garcia

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